New ESPN 3-round mock draft has Cardinals netting WR, pass rusher, RB

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We are a little more than a week away from the NFL draft and we are getting a few final mock drafts in to play certain scenarios out. The latest from ESPN is a collaboration between draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay.

They alternate picks for the first three rounds of the draft.

For the Arizona Cardinals, they go with a receiver, a pass rusher and a running back.

The results are below.

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Round 1: Arkansas WR Treylon Burks

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Burks is the pick at No. 23, a selection that McShay makes after the Packers select North Dakota State receiver Christian Watson.

In my eyes, the Cardinals get lucky here. They re-signed A.J. Green, but Christian Kirk is off to Jacksonville, and Burks is a physical receiver who can produce after the catch and do damage out of the slot in Arizona.

While Burks’ playmaking skills are intriguing, the fact that the logic is to put him in the slot ignores the Cardinals’ roster. They believe they have a playmaking slot receiver in Rondale Moore. They would need Burks to become an outside receiver primarily. He has the size to do it, but ran roughly 75% of his snaps not outside last season.

This is not my ideal pick. I don’t like the fit.

Round 2: Oklahoma EDGE Nik Bonitto

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McShay makes this pick for the Cardinals as well. Bonitto could potentially fill the hole created by Chandler Jones’ departure.

Arizona’s pass rush win rate off the edge was 27th in the NFL last season (10.9%), and that was before Chandler Jones signed elsewhere. So yeah, it’s a problem. Bonitto has the burst and bend to get home on the QB.

Bonitto is a fun prospect as he tested well at the combine. He did not have elite production but did have seven sacks and 15 tackles for loss in 2021.

I do really like this selection.

Round 3: Georgia RB James Cook

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This is also McShay’s pick for the Cardinals at No. 87 overall.

The Cardinals re-signed James Conner, but Chase Edmonds is off to Miami. Arizona likes to operate with two running backs, and Cook brings breakaway speed and plenty of receiving ability out of the backfield.

Cook does add the dimension that Edmonds added last season. He is a good fit, although with Sam Houston State CB Zyon McCollum on the board still, I would be tempted to take him instead.

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